In support of Mental Health Awareness Week, our team at WGM Engineering have been reiterating the importance of creating an open and honest culture where Mental Health can be addressed and understood.
Each day this week, we have communicated a brief to our employees to create a better understanding of Mental Health.
What is Mental Health?
Mental ill health can range from feeling ‘a bit down’ to common disorders such as anxiety and depression to more severe and far less common conditions such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
Most people’s mental health will not just be continuously good. Usually, it will rise and fall depending on pressures and/or experiences in their life. A person may, therefore, feel in good mental health generally but also experience stress or anxiety from time to time.
The Importance of Understanding & Addressing Mental Health
People that feel good about themselves often work productively, interact well with colleagues and make a valuable contribution to the workplace. A recent Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development study highlighted the impact that mental ill health can have on organisations. The study found that:
- 37% of sufferers are more likely to get into conflict with colleagues
- 57% find it harder to juggle multiple tasks
- 80% find it difficult to concentrate
- 62% take longer to do tasks
- 50% are potentially less patient with customers/clients.
The study also found that, for the first time, stress is the major cause of long-term absence in manual and non-manual workers.
Ten ways to Improve Mental Health
- Talk about your feelings – Telling somebody that you are sad can take some of the sadness away and sharing joy will add more joy. Humans often crave closeness to other people and sharing feelings helps.
- Keep active – Exercise keeps the brain and body healthy and can help improve your mood. Research on depression and anxiety shows that exercise has both physical and psychological benefits.
- Eat well – what we eat has a big impact on how we feel, mentally as well as physically. Your brain needs nutrients to stay healthy, certain types of food contain essential components for good mental health. Remember what is good for you physically is good for you mentally
- Avoid alcohol – Alcohol is a depressant, we drink alcohol to change our mood. Drinking a lot can harm your brain and lead to depression. Short term it may make you feel better but when the drink wears off, you feel worse and are more likely to get the blues.
- Stay in touch – There’s nothing better than catching up with friends and family, try to invest your time in people you care about. Give them a call or chat with them online. Communicate more, the conversation can solve most problems.
- Get help/advice – Asking for help is not a sign of weakness it is a way of staying strong, help to create a culture where asking for help is encouraged.
- Take time for you – A change of pace is good for your mental health. It could be as simple as five minutes to yourself to a weekend away, or just trying something new. Just that little five minutes can de-stress you. A new environment may distract you from how bad you feel and make you focus on something else. Have a little selfish time, you deserve it.
- Do things you’re good at – If it makes you feel happy and you enjoy doing it, then make time for this activity even if it is only to boost your self-esteem. Enjoying yourself can help beat stress, think of something you love doing now or loved doing in the past
- Self-acceptance – For many people, self-acceptance is hard to come by on a good day, but when you have had a bad day your self-acceptance is in shreds, it is normal to feel like this. Learn to accept that you’re unique, work on your strengths and be kind to yourself. Feeling good about yourself will boost your confidence, be proud of who you are.
- Care for others – Caring for others is what brings relationships closer together.
Ten ways to Improve Workplace Well-being.
Mental well-being is the ability to cope with the day to day stresses of life, work productively, interact positively with others and realise our own potential. Taking action can improve your life at work or prevent stress from developing in the first place.
- Develop good relationships with colleagues so you can build up a network of support.
- Write a list of what needs to be done it only takes a few minutes and can help you prioritise, focus and get things in perspective. It can also feel satisfying to tick items off once they have been done.
- Try and take a walk or get some fresh air during the day. Exercise and daylight are good for your mental health in addition to your mental health.
- If everything starts to feel overwhelming, take a deep breath. Try and get away from your desk or situation for a few minutes.
- Be assertive – say no if you can’t take on extra demands.
- If you are working from home, make the most of the opportunities for contact.
- Maintain a healthy work-life balance – nurture your outside relationships, interests and the abilities your job does not use.
- Make sure you drink enough water and that you eat during the day to maintain energy levels.
- Work regular hours and try to take the breaks and holidays you’re entitled to. If things are getting too much, book a day off!
- If you need help – Say it!